Today I’m coming at your from my happy place with the best beach reads for summer. There is nothing more relaxing than lying on the beach listening to the waves with a good book in your hand.
This Tuesday’s Ten was hard to put together! I love to read and could include so many books in this post, but I did my best to narrow it down. Here are my top ten best beach reads to date.
I read this book last summer and LOVED it. It truly lived up to its title and was one of the best beach reads. This was the first book I read by Emily Henry, and I will definitely be adding more to my list. It was funny and lighthearted and just the most swoon-worthy romance for summer.
A romance writer who no longer believes in love and a literary writer stuck in a rut engage in a summer-long challenge that may just upend everything they believe about happily ever afters.
Augustus Everett is an acclaimed author of literary fiction. January Andrews writes bestselling romance. When she pens a happily ever after, he kills off his entire cast.
They’re polar opposites.
In fact, the only thing they have in common is that for the next three months, they’re living in neighboring beach houses, broke, and bogged down with writer’s block.
Until, one hazy evening, one thing leads to another and they strike a deal designed to force them out of their creative ruts: Augustus will spend the summer writing something happy, and January will pen the next Great American Novel. She’ll take him on field trips worthy of any rom-com montage, and he’ll take her to interview surviving members of a backwoods death cult (obviously). Everyone will finish a book and no one will fall in love. Really.
If you follow me on Instagram, you know this series has been my current obsession. In fact it took everything in me to save the third book for this beach trip because I”m dying to know how it ends. I read the first two books in only a few days and have fallen in love with the characters. I am a huge Hilderbrand fan, so it was no surprise that I love this series.
Synopsis (Book 1)
Join New York Times Bestselling author Elin Hilderbrand on the stunning beaches of St. John for the beginning of her thrilling new winter series-The Paradise.
Welcome to Paradise, the first book in the Paradise series, has everything that readers have come to know and love about an Elin Hilderbrand novel, plus a healthy dose of intrigue. Irene Steele’s idyllic life-house, husband, family-is shattered when she is woken up by a late-night phone call. Her beloved husband has been found dead, but before Irene can process this tragic news, she must confront the perplexing details of her husband’s death. He was found on St. John island, a tropical paradise far removed from their suburban life.
Leaving the cold winter behind, Irene flies down to the beautiful Caribbean beaches of St. John only to make another shocking discovery: her husband had a secret second family. As Irene investigates the mysterious circumstances of her husband’s death, she is plunged into a web of intrigue and deceit belied by the pristine white sand beaches of St. John’s. This exciting first book in the Paradise series will transport readers to a new beach locale-another world that Elin knows as well as her beloved Nantucket-and have them longing for winter.
This book falls into my top three books of all time. I have read it at least four times and love it just as much every time. I’m sure most of you have seen the Netflix series by this point, but if you have not read the book you need to add it to your list immediately. It tugs at your heart and is a tear jerker for sure, but it is such a great read.
In the turbulent summer of 1974, Kate Mularkey has accepted her place at the bottom of the eighth-grade social food chain. Then, to her amazement, the “coolest girl in the world” moves in across the street and wants to be her friend. Tully Hart seems to have it all—beauty, brains, ambition. On the surface they are as opposite as two people can be: Kate, doomed to be forever uncool, with a loving family who mortifies her at every turn. Tully, steeped in glamour and mystery, but with a secret that is destroying her. They make a pact to be best friends forever; by summer’s end they’ve become TullyandKate. Inseparable.
So begins Kristin Hannah’s magnificent new novel. Spanning more than three decades and playing out across the ever-changing face of the Pacific Northwest, Firefly Lane is the poignant, powerful story of two women and the friendship that becomes the bulkhead of their lives.
From the beginning, Tully is desperate to prove her worth to the world. Abandoned by her mother at an early age, she longs to be loved unconditionally. In the glittering, big-hair era of the eighties, she looks to men to fill the void in her soul. But in the buttoned-down nineties, it is television news that captivates her. She will follow her own blind ambition to New York and around the globe, finding fame and success . . . and loneliness.
Kate knows early on that her life will be nothing special. Throughout college, she pretends to be driven by a need for success, but all she really wants is to fall in love and have children and live an ordinary life. In her own quiet way, Kate is as driven as Tully. What she doesn’t know is how being a wife and mother will change her . . . how she’ll lose sight of who she once was, and what she once wanted. And how much she’ll envy her famous best friend. . . .
For thirty years, Tully and Kate buoy each other through life, weathering the storms of friendship—jealousy, anger, hurt, resentment. They think they’ve survived it all until a single act of betrayal tears them apart . . . and puts their courage and friendship to the ultimate test.
Firefly Lane is for anyone who ever drank Boone’s Farm apple wine while listening to Abba or Fleetwood Mac. More than a coming-of-age novel, it’s the story of a generation of women who were both blessed and cursed by choices. It’s about promises and secrets and betrayals. And ultimately, about the one person who really, truly knows you—and knows what has the power to hurt you . . . and heal you. Firefly Lane is a story you’ll never forget . . . one you’ll want to pass on to your best friend.
This book combines two of Giffin’s most popular books, Something Borrowed and Something Blue. I read both of these books years ago, but they still stand out as some of my favorite light hearted chick-lits. They are easy reads that are perfect for pool or beach days.
A hard-working attorney at a large Manhattan firm, Rachel White has always played by the rules, quietly accepting the sidekick role to Darcy in their lopsided friendship. But that changes the night that Rachel confesses her feelings to Darcy’s fiancé, and is both horrified and thrilled to discover that he feels the same way. As the wedding date draws near, events spiral out of control, and Rachel knows she must make a choice between her heart and conscience. In doing so, she discovers that the lines between right and wrong can be blurry, endings aren’t always neat, and sometimes you have to risk everything to be true to yourself.
Darcy Rhone has always been able to rely on a few things: her beauty and charm. Her fiancé Dex. Her best friend Rachel. She never needed anything or anyone else. Or so she thought until she uncovered the ultimate betrayal. Blaming everyone but herself, Darcy flees to London and attempts to re-create her glamorous life on a new continent. But to her dismay, she discovers that her tried-and-true tricks no longer apply–and that her luck has finally expired. It is only then that she can begin her journey towards redemption, forgiveness, and the true meaning of happily ever after.
This is another book that I read last summer. (It was a good summer for reading thanks to quarantine.) As a blogger and Instagram “influencer” (gosh I hate that term,) I really found this book funny on so many levels. It was another quick and easy read that I really enjoyed.
Six years after the fight that ended their friendship, Daphne Berg is shocked when Drue Cavanaugh walks back into her life, looking as lovely and successful as ever, with a massive favor to ask. Daphne hasn’t spoken one word to Drue in all this time—she doesn’t even hate-follow her ex-best friend on social media—so when Drue asks if she will be her maid-of-honor at the society wedding of the summer, Daphne is rightfully speechless.
Drue was always the one who had everything—except the ability to hold onto friends. Meanwhile, Daphne’s no longer the same self-effacing sidekick she was back in high school. She’s built a life that she loves, including a growing career as a plus-size Instagram influencer. Letting glamorous, seductive Drue back into her life is risky, but it comes with an invitation to spend a weekend in a waterfront Cape Cod mansion. When Drue begs and pleads and dangles the prospect of cute single guys, Daphne finds herself powerless as ever to resist her friend’s siren song.
A sparkling novel about the complexities of female friendship, the pitfalls of living out loud and online, and the resilience of the human heart, Big Summer is a witty, moving story about family, friendship, and figuring out what matters most.
Another series that I haven’t read in years by still stands out as perfect for summer are the Confessions of a Shopaholic books. I’m sure you have heard of them, but if you haven’t they are HILARIOUS! There are ten books in the series, and they all leave you wanting more. I would love to go back and re-read this series one day because they were that cute!
Becky has a fabulous flat in London’s trendiest neighborhood, a troupe of glamorous socialite friends, and a closet brimming with the season’s must-haves. The only trouble is that she can’t actually afford it–not any of it.
Her job writing at Successful Savings not only bores her to tears, it doesn’t pay much at all. And lately Becky’s been chased by dismal letters from the bank –letters with large red sums she can’t bear to read–and they’re getting ever harder to ignore.
She tries cutting back. But none of her efforts succeeds. Becky’s only consolation is to buy herself something … just a little something….
Finally a story arises that Becky actually cares about, and her front-page article catalyzes a chain of events that will transform her life–and the lives of those around her–forever.
I read this book on a whim years ago, and I still remember it being one of the funniest books I have ever read. If you are a fan of Ree Drummond (The Pioneer Woman) you will love reading her story. It is the cutest love story about how she met and and fell in love with her cowboy husband, and it will have you laughing so hard you cry!
“That’s when I saw him- the cowboy- across the smoky room.”
I’ll never forget that night. It was like a romance novel, an old Broadway musical, and a John Wayne western rolled into one. Out for a quick drink with friends, I wasn’t looking to meet anyone, let alone a tall, rugged cowboy who lived on a cattle ranch miles away from my cultured, corporate hometown. But before I knew it, I’d been struck with a lightning bolt . . . and I was completely powerless to stop
Read along as I recount the rip-roaring details of my unlikely romance with a chaps-wearing cowboy, from the early days of our courtship (complete with cows, horses, prairie fire, and passion) all the way through the first year of our marriage, which would be filled with more challenge and strife—and manure—than I ever could have expected.
This isn’t just my love story; it’s a universal tale of passion, romance, and all-encompassing love that sweeps us off our feet.
It’s the story of a cowboy.
And the girl who fell in love with them.
No beach reads list would be complete without at least one Nicholas Sparks book on it. I had a really hard time picking which one to include because all of his books are the perfect summer romance reads, but I settled on this one. It is another tear jerker, but wow, is it a great book!
Set amid the austere beauty of the North Carolina coast begins the story of Noah Calhoun, a rural Southerner recently returned from the Second World War. Noah is restoring a plantation home to its former glory, and he is haunted by images of the beautiful girl he met fourteen years earlier, a girl he loved like no other. Unable to find her, yet unwilling to forget the summer they spent together, Noah is content to live with only memories…until she unexpectedly returns to his town to see him once again.
Like a puzzle within a puzzle, the story of Noah and Allie is just the beginning. As it unfolds, their tale miraculously becomes something different, with much higher stakes. The result is a deeply moving portrait of love itself, the tender moments and the fundamental changes that affect us all. It is a story of miracles and emotions that will stay with you forever.
I really tried to only include authors one time on this list, but Hilderbrand is the queen of beach literature in my opinion and this book is no exception. This may have been my favorite read of 2020, and I am dying to re-read it ASAP!
When Mallory Blessing’s son, Link, receives deathbed instructions from his mother to call a number on a slip of paper in her desk drawer, he’s not sure what to expect. But he certainly does not expect Jake McCloud to answer. It’s the late spring of 2020 and Jake’s wife, Ursula DeGournsey, is the frontrunner in the upcoming Presidential election.
There must be a mistake, Link thinks. How do Mallory and Jake know each other?
Flash back to the sweet summer of 1993: Mallory has just inherited a beachfront cottage on Nantucket from her aunt, and she agrees to host her brother’s bachelor party. Cooper’s friend from college, Jake McCloud, attends, and Jake and Mallory form a bond that will persevere — through marriage, children, and Ursula’s stratospheric political rise — until Mallory learns she’s dying.
Based on the classic film Same Time Next Year (which Mallory and Jake watch every summer), 28 Summers explores the agony and romance of a one-weekend-per-year affair and the dramatic ways this relationship complicates and enriches their lives, and the lives of the people they love.
The final book in my best summer beach read list is another one I read several years back. In my opinion, when you remember loving a book years later you know it was a good one! This book takes place in the 1930s over Memorial Day weekend. It has a “Gossip Girl” feel to it, which I absolutely love. This is another book that I would love to re-read one day!
Memorial Day, 1938: New York socialite Lily Dane has just returned with her family to the idyllic oceanfront community of Seaview, Rhode Island, expecting another placid summer season among the familiar traditions and friendships that sustained her after heartbreak.
That is, until the Greenwalds decide to take up residence in Seaview.
Nick and Budgie Greenwald are an unwelcome specter from Lily’s past: her former best friend and her former fiancé, now recently married—an event that set off a wildfire of gossip among the elite of Seaview, who have summered together for generations. Budgie’s arrival to restore her family’s old house puts her once more in the center of the community’s social scene, and she insinuates herself back into Lily’s friendship with an overpowering talent for seduction…and an alluring acquaintance from their college days, Yankees pitcher Graham Pendleton. But the ties that bind Lily to Nick are too strong and intricate to ignore, and the two are drawn back into long-buried dreams, despite their uneasy secrets and many emotional obligations.
Under the scorching summer sun, the unexpected truth of Budgie and Nick’s marriage bubbles to the surface, and as a cataclysmic hurricane barrels unseen up the Atlantic and into New England, Lily and Nick must confront an emotional cyclone of their own, which will change their worlds forever.
If you haven’t read some of these books, I highly recommend checking them out this summer. Make sure to check out my favorite books of 2020 post if you want even more suggestions.
If you have a Goodreads account, let’s be friends! I’m always looking for new ideas. Also, let me know in the comments or send me a DM on Instagram with your best beach reads so I can check them out! Thanks so much for reading!